TJ Dillashaw (12-2) will defend his belt Saturday night July 25, 2015 when he faces Renon Barao (35-2) at Fight Night Chicago at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The long-awaited championship rematch scheduled five-rounder comes after two previous postponements, one when Barao failed to make weight and another when Dillashaw fractured a rib in training.
The Team Alpha Male champion Dillashaw established himself as a worthy champion in their first meeting by beating a fighter who had a 22-fight win streak, hadn’t lost in nine years and was considered one of the UFC’s best pound-for-pound fighters.
UFC Bantamweight Champion TJ Dillashaw has taken his striking to the heights of history. In his most recent appearance in the Octagon, Dillashaw connected with 151 significant strikes when he knocked out Joe Soto at UFC 177. That tied the second largest count of significant strikes landed in a UFC fight.
Renan Barao is on of the most accomplished bantamweights in the history of MMA. The former champion is the only bantamweight in history to earn a Performance, Knockout, Submission and Fight of the Night award. Barrio is one of just three fighters in UFC history to earn a knockout by spinning back kick, finishing Eddie Wineland at UFC 165.
Here are the top storylines for Fight Night Chicago:
Considered one of the biggest upsets in UFC history, TJ Dillashaw looks to prove that it was no fluke when he took the belt from Renan Barao in May 2014 in their championship rematch. With both men having finished their lone opponent since the two last met, they are primed to put on another fight of the night caliber performance in Chicago. Likely the favorite this time around, Dillashaw will not have a David vs. Goliath mentality heading into this main event showdown. Instead, he looks to use the striking he’s developed under Duane Ludwig to counter the slick submission skills of Barao.
Hoping to get a crack at championship gold, second-ranked Miesha Tate meets up-and-coming No. 5 Jessica Eye in the co-main event. With women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey set to defend her title a week later in Brazil, the winner of this bout is likely next in line for a shot at the title. For Tate, it’d be her third shot at the champ and she is the only woman to take Rousey out of the first round in MMA competition. Eye, hopes that with a win she’ll earn her first shot at UFC gold and become the first person to dethrone Rousey.
When seventh-ranked lightweight Edson Barboza meets undefeated prospect Paul Felder in Chicago, fans won’t want to blink. They are two of the most electrifying strikers in the sport and both hold one of the most impressive knockouts in MMA history – Barboza a spinning wheel kick KO of Terry Etim in 2012 and Felder a spinning back-fist KO of Danny Castillo earlier this year.
Kicking off the main card on FOX will be a pair of fan favorites sure to bring the action. Joe Lauzon, owner of the most post-fight bonuses in UFC history with 13, will collide with Japan’s Takanori Gomi. The two combine for 42 finishes (Lauzon – 23; Gomi – 19) and no doubt will be looking to add to that total in Chicago.